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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Working at height: 4 companies that didn’t take risk assessment seriously

Working at height risk assessment


"Falls from height, and in particular falls involving fragile roofs, are one of the main causes of work-related deaths in Britain. The risks are therefore well-known and documented, as is the guidance on how to reduce these."

HSE inspector Sandra Tomlinson



In previous blog articles we talked about the need to carry out suitable risk assessments when working at height, especially when regular maintenance tasks are identified. This article talks about 4 companies that should have taken a more thorough risk assessment approach.

Failure to produce any initial risk assessment

In the first case, the employee of a major supermarket was said to be lucky to suffer only minor injuries after falling 9 metres through a fragile skylight, landing in the shopping aisles of the store in Wallasey, Merseyside in June 2014. The worker was part of a team carrying out repairs to the store roof and gutters when the incident occurred.

This resulted in the companies involved being fined a total of £500,000.

HSE (the Health and Safety Executive) found that no risk assessment or method statement had been produced prior to carrying out the work.


Working at height risk assessment

Failure to utilise the correct equipment

This second incident shows just how inexcusable not specifying the correct equipment for a recurring task is.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into an incident in May 2015 found that the company had not carried out a suitable risk assessment. The work at height involved closing the zipped flaps on the fabric liners used for containers that were being loaded with malt for export.

A 4-metre long ladder was propped against the rear of the container to gain access to the zip-up flap. The ladder was too long for this purpose and was propped at too shallow an angle, which caused it to slip outwards at the foot. As a result, the agency worker fell with the ladder, sustaining fractures to his right foot, bruising to his chest and head injuries.

The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,257.


Working at height risk assessment

Lack of appropriate management supervision

In this third devastating incident, someone paid the ultimate cost, while of course there were also financial implications which could potentially put a company out of business.

Richard Perry, 43, was working with a colleague covering roof lights with blackout vinyl in June 2014 at a company in Bradford. This was in an attempt to block out the sunlight and reduce the heat within the factory. Mr Perry fell 5.5 metres to his death through a fragile roof light to the fabrications department below.

The Company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £120,000 with £37,655 costs by Bradford Crown Court.


HSE Inspector Andrea Jones said:

“Two employees were on the roof for some time with no precautions in place to prevent falling through fragile roof material or off the open edge of the roof. This accident would not have happened if these two employees had been appropriately supervised by management.


Building demolition safety

Lack of planning and adequate safety equipment

This final incident, although not as a result of failings during regular maintenance, is worth mentioning due to the impact of the parties involved.

During a contract to demolish a building, it had originally been planned that plant machinery would be used to remotely bring down the structure. This method would have entailed minimum risk to the workmen tasked with the demolition.

However, between winning the contract and the work actually being carried out, the management decided to instead dismantle the building piece by piece. This meant that workmen had to work at height to remove the roof sheets prior to the structure being unbolted.

Despite one near miss, work resumed but subsequently a worker fell to his death. Two company owners were found guilty: one was jailed for 6 years, fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £55,000 court costs; the other was jailed for 8 months, fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 court costs.


Take risk assessment seriously

Simplified Safety are always happy to discuss your safety needs - either over the phone or in person, offering a wide range of different solutions depending on your task.

Just get in touch!


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Posted on 12/01/17 at 12:42 PM
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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The low down on working at height

A tragic event in September this year, where a school teacher slipped, fell and broke her leg and subsequently died from complications while putting up a display in her classroom ahead of the new term, put into focus how easily what could be considered a common, ‘simple’ task can go horribly wrong. 

The newspaper coverage did not give enough detail on what happened to comment further on this particular incident, so I will be talking in general terms about working at ‘low heights’.


image courtesy of the HSE


The Working at Height Regulations changed back in 2005 to ‘Work at height means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.’

I think what affected me the most (again without knowing the exact events of the above) is how often have I personally climbed on top of a chair, table or desk to for example to change a light bulb or reach something off a shelf, without really thinking about the suitability of what I’m standing on simply because it was the easiest option. I bet I’m not alone in having done this.


image courtesy of the HSE


Now I’m not suggesting that every time you want to step off the ground, a meeting of senior management should be arranged and a 300 page risk assessment should be be prepared, but bearing in mind the possible consequences it is worth taking some time out to consider the best course of action before starting that task and if it means delaying it slightly while a suitable piece of equipment or more qualified member of personnel is acquired to carry out the task as safely as possible, then so be it.

Many organisations will already have procedures in place and have that communicated to all staff and  if not then they should, but it is obviously difficult to cover every eventuality. Where it is possible to minimise risk is for ‘regular tasks’ i.e. something that is done at least once a year. Then as a result of a risk assessment a suitable piece of equipment can be selected and appropriate training provided or it may be a case of moving something stored ‘out of reach’ to a position where it can be easily accessed without having to climb.


image courtesy of the HSE


Consider also then areas where staff are required to access, similar requirements may be needed on a roof or on a factory floor, a piece of plant or equipment may need to be accessed that requires someone to climb a short distance to reach it, a permanent work platform may be the most suitable solution so the access is always available and in the case of a roof the access equipment doesn’t need to be taken up each time minimising those associated hazards.

Where steps or platforms are already in place could they be further enhanced by adding a self closing gate to minimise falls at the access point?

Whatever your working at height query, at Simplified Safety we’re always pleased to help with advice and if necessary provide an on-site meeting to discuss your requirements.

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This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 01/11/16 at 03:15 PM
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Friday, October 21, 2016

Protecting mezzanines and loading bays- choices for the discerning pallet.

We have recently increased our range of gates, in addition to our popular self-closing gates, to include a DOUBLE SELF CLOSING GATE for openings up to 1800mm wide and a range of four PALLET GATES to protect workers loading mezzanines and loading bays.



KEE GATE Pallet Gates are constructed using standard galvanised tube and KEE KLAMP and one model with lightweight aluminium tube and KEE LITE fittings.

In the event of the pallet safety gate being damaged by a forklift or general use, the individual fittings and sections can be easily replaced without having to replace the whole unit, using standard tools, something that can’t be done with a pallet gate that has been welded and fabricated.

Galvanised steel and aluminium offers a long term corrosion resistance and each model is also available in high visibility powder-coated yellow.

The Gates have been designed to be well balanced for an easy open and close action and incorporate a 150mm ‘toe-board’ mounted on mezzanine edge side to protect workers below.

The adaptability of Kee Klamp & Kee Lite fittings also means our range of pallet gates can be easily integrated into existing handrails or we would be pleased to advise and quote on a complete handrail and pallet gate system, either supply only or to include installation. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your needs further or for us to provide a free site survey


KEE GATE Pallet Gates Options

The KEE GATE Pallet Gates range has been designed to be fully adjustable in width and can accommodate openings up to 1.8m. Our pallet gates are available in four different configurations to suit the type of operation required.

 

Pallet Gate Type A – Standard Model

Galvanised steel, the ‘Type A’  STANDARD Pallet Gate accepts pallets up to 1.4m x 1.48m with a maximum height capacity of 1.6m.

Available In Galvanised steel or yellow powder-coated options

Pricing and more details can be found here

Standard Pallet Gate



Pallet Gate Type B – Narrow Frame Model

Taking up less room than the standard model, the design of this gate means less floor space is required to load and unload pallets ideal for use on mezzanines or loading bays where space is limited.

Accepts pallets up to 1.4m x 1.48m with a maximum height capacity of 1.8m.

Available in Galvanised steel or yellow powder-coated options

Pricing and more details can be found here

Narrow Frame Pallet Gate



Pallet Gate Type C – Tall Pallet Model

This model offers the tallest capacity of the Kee Gate Pallet Gate range.

Accepts pallets up to 1.4m x 1.48m with a maximum height capacity of 2.2m.

Pricing and more details can be found here

Tall Pallet Gate



Pallet Gate Type D – Extra Wide Model

Offering the widest load capacity of the Kee Pallet Gates range, the design of this gate provides maximum load width of 1.9m, whilst also offering 2m head clearance for workers.

Accepts pallets up to 1.4m x 1.9m with a maximum height capacity of 1.6m.

Available in lightweight aluminium or yellow powder-coated options

Pricing and more details can be found here

Tall Pallet Gate

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 21/10/16 at 03:21 PM
Fall ProtectionPermalink

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

KeeGuard Installation Video

To confirm how simple and quick it is to install the KeeGuard System we’ve created this video to provide an overview.



The video has been designed to act as an introduction for those who have never installed it before, as a general reference for those who require the system installing on their behalf and reminder for people who are already familiar with the system.

The video’s easy to understand guidelines are based on the KeeGuard Instructions for Use and can be used to assist anyone quickly and safely construct a complete free-standing roof guardrail.

Learn more about our KeeGuard edge protection system on our website, or give us a call.

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 04/10/16 at 08:39 AM
Fall ProtectionGeneral NewsProduct InformationTrainingVideoPermalink

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fragile Skylight and rooflight protection for metal profile roofs.

In a previous article we’ve discussed the issues around falls through sky lights and rooflights and the importance of protecting them and detailing the options, in this article we are discussing specifying the Kee Cover fragile roof light cover in particular.



Even when designed to be ‘non-fragile’ many factors have an affect on how long that non-fragility can be maintained so where in doubt we offer the Kee Cover fragile rooflight cover (the National Association for Rooflight Manufacturers offers advice here).

Industrial buildings by their design are required to have multiple in-plane roolights, sometimes totalling in the hundreds.  If it is uneconomic to protect all, then is it an acceptable solution to protect some? If so, which?

As with any work at height any controls need to be selected as the result of a risk assessment and the identified task to be carried out on the roof needs to be specific. What that means is it often isn’t possible to provide a fall prevention system to try to cover every eventuality often not without incurring excessive cost or in the end creating a fall protection system that isn’t fit for purpose.

If for example you have workers who need to regularly access a piece of plant for maintenance it makes sense to work out a safe path to that equipment, ideally indicated by a designated walkway or identified route. So it makes sense that KEE COVER fragile roof light covers would be protecting roof lights adjacent to the roof access point and along the designated route.

It is quite common to specify a horizontal lifeline system (HLL) for this kind of access, keeping the user in restraint, so being unable to reach a fragile roof light and can be the most economic solution.

It may in fact be better to specify a combination of both a HLL and KEE COVER fragile rooflight covers due to factors such as mis-use, unsuitable connectors, not having the correct space between rooflights or unsuitable roof shape to allow a HLL system alone to be correctly configured in restraint.




The KEE COVER is available in two options- standard or raised, while both have been designed to  stop a person falling through a rooflight the raised version has been designed to not damage the rooflight underneath should someone fall onto it, important to think about where machinery (resulting in costly down-time) or staff underneath would be adversely affected if the skylight above was damaged and resulted falling fragments. This consideration and the cost to repair or replace a damaged rooflight in the event of an incident may be a factor in which would be the raised model may be the preferred choice.

As with all of our systems we are pleased to discuss your requirements and offer a free site survey if required.

If you require online pricing, click here:

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 22/09/16 at 03:19 PM
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Friday, September 02, 2016

A Simplified Guide To DDA Handrail

Written by our US site Simplified Building Concepts, we have adapted it for the UK and the UK Disability Discrimination Act.

This guide has a variety of information tailored towards introducing a beginner to the KeeAccess modular handrail system

image

The Simplified DDA manual, guides you in the assembly of parts, gives details information on general guidelines and tips on how best to position the handrail

image

To see more on our DDA handrail contact us here: or veiw our NEW: Simplified DDA Manual.

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 02/09/16 at 02:56 PM
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Friday, August 12, 2016

An Open And Shut Case For Safety Gates


image


The use of self-closing gates, commonly in gaps in guardrail systems to allow roof access from a fixed ladder, has seen a marked increase in recent years with the advent of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 where any work at height is required to be planned as a result of a risk assessment.

It is not it is still not uncommon to see chains or draw bars used to allow access to the roof instead, the big downside to these being used is that if the chain or drawbar is not replaced (and often isn’t) an open void is created in the fall protection system and so a significant fall hazard is created at the roof edge.

The solution to this problem is to use a self-closing gate, once the user has passed through the gate; a spring closes the gap, filling the open void once more reducing the risk of human error.



Simplified Safety’s self-closing gate has been designed with ease of installation in mind. It is supplied at a standard 1m width and can be easily cut to the correct width if required. The Tubular bend of the gate is fixed to the assembly using a fitting so is easily removed using a standard Allen key, cut to size and quickly re-assembled, making it an ideal product to modify on site where exact measurements are not known beforehand.

The Gate also features an adjustable spring mechanism meaning that the speed of the gate closure can be set and provides the option of reversing the direction it closes, ideal for example in the instance you suddenly realise that you have installed it the wrong way round. Gates should of course open in the opposite direction to where a fall is likely to occur.

Each gate is supplied with all the fixings needed to connect it securely to standard tubular uprights and has a fixing plate to allow you to fix it to suitable walls or flat surfaces.


double gate


The use of self-closing gates is stipulated in BS EN 14122 parts 3 & 4 and the Simplified Safety Gate is designed to meet the dimensional, loading and corrosion requirements of that Standard.

Although typically used at height the gate is also suitable for ground based barrier rails for example in factories or on loading bays.

Learn more about our Self Closing Safety Gate

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 12/08/16 at 02:05 PM
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Self-closing gates; YOUR SAFETY FIRST

With working at height regulations becoming ever more stringent, the question is – what products are available that cover all eventualities when it comes to safety risk?


Self Closing Safety Gate, DDA Compliant Industrial Safety Gate


Where working at height is a factor, all too often the correct measures are not taken to ensure round-the-clock safety.  Where there is machinery in operation, particularly when above ground level, the need for robust safety apparatus is paramount. ISO standards EN 14122 Part 3 & Part 4 defines the general requirements for safe access to machinery.  The standard advises the correct choice of access means where access is not possible directly from ground level or from a floor.

Self-closing safety gates can fulfil this requirement and is ideal for use in any rooftop, high level platform or ground level industrial environment.  Self-closing gates can protect any openings providing safe access to restricted areas.  

Self-closing gates typically have a spring-loaded mechanism to automatically close behind the user meaning that the speed at which the gate closes can be adjusted, this is a far safer option than the chains or draw bars of old, as these barrier methods mean that once someone has passed through the opening there is no automatic reclose function, leaving the roof or platform in question a high-risk area once again. 

Product versatility is a key factor in ensuring site security.  When specifying a gate the following should be considered:


Self Closing Safety Gate, DDA Compliant Industrial Safety Gate


  • Is it designed to be cut to size to suit existing opening? This means a gate can be held in stores for multiple applications around site, minimising response and downtimes
  • Has an adjustable spring
  • Has been independently tested
  • CE marked to EN 1090
  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Can be used for external and internal applications
  • Galvanised steel for long term corrosion resistance or ‘safety yellow’ option for high visibility
  • Retro-fits to existing structures, options for wall mounting or fitting to round, angle or square uprights
  • Complies with test requirements of EN 13374 Class A and with EN 14122 Part 3 & Part 4

Different Gates for different applications

While the self-closing gate has its uses when correctly specified, it may not be suitable for all applications and as with all other workplace activities hazards should be controlled as the result of a risk assessment.

Where pedestrian traffic needs to be controlled around a facility where vehicles and fork trucks operate an electronically controlled barrier may be the more suitable option.

Many companies operate ‘lock off’ procedures only allowing access for approved staff to certain areas e.g. for maintenance staff when repairing or maintaining machinery which can only be accessed once certain procedures such as electrically isolating the machinery has been completed.



On loading bays and mezzanines it is common to use ‘pallet’ or ‘mezzanine’ gates, typically twin gates of a pivoting design, the gate not only separates pedestrians from the forklift loading operation onto the loading area, they also secure the ledges of the loading bays to prevent unsafe fall accidents.

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 27/07/16 at 03:28 PM
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fragile Roof Lights and Safe Working Practices

Roof lights present a common hazard for the construction industry, accounting for almost a fifth of all fatal working at height accidents according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Many of these incidents could be prevented by installing an appropriate safety system, so we explore the dangers of working at height to business owners and their staff, and explain how to avoid falls through skylights.

The majority of working at height incidents happen on the roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings, where fragile roof lights (also known as skylights) present a dangerous working environment. Not only is this of concern to the workers who are accessing the roofs, but also to the business owners, who can be fined for their failure to provide sufficient safety precautions.


image courtesy of HSE


Just last month, two examples of falls through skylights were reported by the HSE. A company was prosecuted and fined £10,000, after an employee fell through a skylight onto a concrete floor, fracturing his right leg and wrist. Later in the month, a company director was fined £3,300 for safety failings after a worker fell three metres through an unprotected skylight.  The worker was replacing windows on a large manor house, when he fell through the skylight and broke his wrist when landing. The HSE explained that ‘the work was not adequately planned to take account of the risk of working near to a fragile surface’.

For workers accessing the roof top, identifying roof lights can be challenging, especially on a surface that may otherwise appear robust and safe. Often, roof lights have been painted over, are discoloured or generally not visible due to sunlight making them blend in with the surrounding roof sheets. This makes it incredibly difficult for those accessing the roof to distinguish between a non-fragile and fragile surface. 

Another major hazard with roof lights is instability. While a roof light may appear to be in order, its structure may have been severely weakened with age and thus can become extremely brittle over time. Of course, roof lights aren’t designed to sustain the sudden weight of humans, so stepping onto the surface can cause them to crack, or at worst, break completely, leaving the person to fall through to certain harm.

The good news is that accidents occurring due to fragile roof lights can be prevented with careful planning, training, high level supervision and suitable equipment such as our roof light cover (shown below).


image


image


When direct access to the roof can’t be avoided, it’s important to take precautions to prevent falls. These could include:

  • Fitting suitable, secure covers over the roof lights,
  • Providing suitable guardrails and toe boards or similar around the roof lights,
  • Installing a safety net, scaffold or similar system, immediately beneath the roof surface,
  • Fitting strong mesh above or below the roof lights for a permanent protective measure.

Before accessing the roof, always ensure you have a clearly demarked safe route and restrict access to experienced individuals only.

It’s vital to pay attention to safe working practices to prevent accidents occurring. Make sure you refer to the HSE Information sheet – GEIS5 Fragile Roofs - Safe Working Practices, which includes guidelines for working with fragile roof lights.


skylight protection


We offer an ideal solution to this hazard, our Roof Light Cover, this product is available as a low profile or raised solution which minimises the potential for damage in the event there is a fall. Click here for pricing:

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 20/07/16 at 10:40 AM
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Monday, July 04, 2016

Complete Fall Protection Solutions

This recent project demonstrates that not only can we provide a complete solution to your fall protection problems, our extensive range of fall protection products means we can offer the best option to suit a customer’s requirements.


image


On one part of the building access is required regularly to the whole of the roof area and the most suitable option was KeeGuard to provide a low risk, collective solution.


image


On another part of the building due to plant and equipment being in a small area, away from the roof edge and only requiring irregular access, it was assessed that the Weightanka mobile man anchor would be most reasonably practicable option, significantly reducing the initial cost of a full perimeter roof guardrail system.


image


The other problems they encountered was where an existing bridging ladder at the edge of a roof would require a break in conventional systems, either leaving an open void where someone could fall. Normally this would require them to fix to either the roof or potentially weaken the structure of the bridging structure, it is this scenario where our Kee Guard system really shines, by using Kee Klamp fittings, the system can be designed to “step over” obstacles or in this instance, step under existing structures ensuring that the system strength is not compromised and leaving the system unbroken along the roof edge.

Need to discuss your fall protection problem? Give us a call!

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 04/07/16 at 12:55 PM
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Friday, March 11, 2016

Explaining “DDA” & Safety handrails for disabled access compliant with the Equality Act 2010



There are an estimated 11 million disabled people in Great Britain, making up around 18% of the overall population. With such a significant number of people requiring assistant access to buildings, it is hugely important that the facility is available.

Laws tackling the discrimination and inequality against disabled people in the UK have existed for a number of years. 

Equality Act 2010

In an attempt to enforce this issue, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was superseded by the Equality Act 2010, to simplify the law, remove inconsistencies and make it easier to understand and comply with.  This Act supports the existing Building Regulations.

These regulations state that “reasonable steps” need to be taken to ensure disabled people are not at a disadvantage when accessing public buildings. What is reasonable will depend on all circumstances, including the cost of an adjustment, the potential benefit it might bring to visitors, the resources an organisation has, and how practical the changes are.

The Equality Act requires that property owners must think ahead and take steps to address obstacles that impede disabled people.  Previously, adjustments to premises had to be made only where it would otherwise be ‘impossible or unreasonably difficult’ for a disabled person to access the property.  Now, under the Equality Act, adjustments must be made where disabled people experience a ‘substantial disadvantage’. 

Under the old Disability Discrimination Act, it was possible for a building owner to legally justify failing to provide a reasonable adjustment in certain circumstances. Now, the only question is whether the adjustment is a reasonable one to make.


Building Regulation Approved Document M

A common solution can involve taking out physical structures like steps and replacing them with ramps, or simply providing handrails to aid wheelchair or other disabled users.  In these cases, the precise requirements set out in Building Regulation Approved Document M specify that handrail heights on all building stairways and ramps do not discriminate against any disability group.

On access ramp gradients, varying from 2 through to 5 degrees, handrails need to be positioned on both sides or centrally for a wide path, to allow a choice of which arm to use for support, they should be installed on both sides of the ramps that are longer than two metres . Where possible, handrails should extend 300mm beyond the top and bottom of the ramp or staircase.  The Building Regulations stipulate an outside diameter tube size for such installations of between 40mm-45mm, and must be offset in the case of a mid-height handrail.

Kee Access Fittings

Architects and specifiers must satisfy these regulatory requirements, yet also be able to meet customer demands on building aesthetics and cost effective options.  This is really important on retrofit projects, where the time and cost involved in removing handrails and replacing with a new structure can seem incredibly expensive.

One option is to adapt the existing handrails to meet the requirements of Part M and the Equality Act.  Our KEE ACCESS components are ideal for heavy traffic environments and allow both speedy and seamless retrofitting as well as hassle-free and simple installation in a new build.

The range is designed to be compatible with the Equality Act recommendations, using a handrail of with outside diameter of 42.4mm.  Kee Access® fittings were developed with versatility, ease and speed of installation in mind. These fittings are ideal as a retrofit solution, because the range includes “Add-on” offset fittings to allow a new handrail to be added onto an existing structure of appropriate size.

When to Powder-coat

The first reason is handrail must be a colour to contrast to its surroundings this is to assist the partial sighted to recognise that there is a handrail available.

Another reason is handrail is meant to be ‘not cold to touch’ (as opposed to the commonly incorrectly specified ‘warm to touch’)

So what’s the difference? In the 2005 edition of BS 8300 a note added to clause 5.10.1 puts the recommendation that handrails should not be 'cold to the touch' in context. It indicates that in parts of the country, which experience harsh winter weather conditions, external metal handrails can become extremely cold. In these circumstances, some people may be reluctant to use the handrail (or involuntary let go of the handrail) if it is uncomfortably cold, representing a safety hazard.

not cold to touch

In extreme cases, a person's skin could adhere to a very cold handrail or the shock can, in some people, trigger an attack of Raynaud's disease. To minimise the effects of cold, handrails should be manufactured from materials with a low thermal conductivity, such as metal be coated with plastics for example Using Kee Access which is offered with a Polyester powder-coating or from materials such as wood.

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 11/03/16 at 02:33 PM
Ask The ExpertsDDA GuidelinesDDAComplianceHandrailPermalink

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fragile Roof Lights and Safe Working Practices

Roof lights present a common hazard for the construction industry, accounting for almost a fifth of all fatal working at height accidents according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Many of these incidents could be prevented by installing an appropriate safety system, so we explore the dangers of working at height to business owners and their staff, and explain how to avoid falls through skylights.



The majority of working at height incidents happen on the roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings, where fragile roof lights (also known as skylights) present a dangerous working environment. Not only is this of concern to the workers who are accessing the roofs, but also to the business owners, who can be fined for their failure to provide sufficient safety precautions.

Just last month, two examples of falls through skylights were reported by the HSE. A company was prosecuted and fined £10,000, after an employee fell through a skylight onto a concrete floor, fracturing his right leg and wrist. Later in the month, a company director was fined £3,300 for safety failings after a worker fell three metres through an unprotected skylight.  The worker was replacing windows on a large manor house, when he fell through the skylight and broke his wrist when landing. The HSE explained that ‘the work was not adequately planned to take account of the risk of working near to a fragile surface’.



For workers accessing the roof top, identifying roof lights can be challenging, especially on a surface that may otherwise appear robust and safe. Often, roof lights have been painted over, are discoloured or generally not visible due to sunlight making them blend in with the surrounding roof sheets. This makes it incredibly difficult for those accessing the roof to distinguish between a non-fragile and fragile surface. 

Another major hazard with roof lights is instability. While a roof light may appear to be in order, its structure may have been severely weakened with age and thus can become extremely brittle over time. Of course, roof lights aren’t designed to sustain the sudden weight of humans, so stepping onto the surface can cause them to crack, or at worst, break completely, leaving the person to fall through to certain harm.

The good news is that accidents occurring due to fragile roof lights can be prevented with careful planning, training, high level supervision and suitable equipment.



When direct access to the roof can’t be avoided, it’s important to take precautions to prevent falls. These could include:

Before accessing the roof, always ensure you have a clearly demarked safe route and restrict access to experienced individuals only.

It’s vital to pay attention to safe working practices to prevent accidents occurring. Make sure you refer to the HSE Information sheet – GEIS5 Fragile Roofs - Safe Working Practices, which includes guidelines for working with fragile roof lights.

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 25/02/16 at 03:32 PM
ComplianceFall ProtectionPermalink

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dont Buy this Product!

I often receive phone calls from Building Owners, facility Managers, Maintenance Staff or a Management Company board member asking me to quote them a Weightanka so it can be left on a roof in the event of maintenance or repair work being carried out at some point in the future, by the end of the conversation they typically haven’t bought one.

This is not due to anything being wrong with the Weightanka, when correctly used it can provide a convenient, non-penetrative option to carry out work at height

To leave a piece of equipment like the Weightanka available on the roof on the ‘off chance’ causes additional problems.


Risk assessment


The Working at Regulations, amongst other things, requires any work at height to be planned as the result of a Risk Assessment.  So for example is the piece of safety equipment you have provided?:

  • In the correct position to carry out the identified job? if the job is of a short duration then it is unlikely a worker will spend 10-15 minutes re-setting up a safety system and will instead risk doing without.
  • Has the equipment been inspected and certified as a minimum in the previous 12 months prior to use?
  • Have you budgeted for an annual re-certification?
  • Is the worker trained to use that particular piece of equipment you intend them to use?
  • Do they have the correct, in date and inspected, PPE with them?
  • Are there other fall hazards like fragile rooflights between the equipment and roof edge?
  • Have they been rescue trained?

Although it is understandable wanting to provide a ‘safe’ piece of equipment to allow maintenance staff to do work at height as they are on your roof, each task needs to thought about separately.

Is it regular planned maintenance (i.e. at least once a year)? Then in that case provide equipment to specifically carry out that particular task, don’t try and provide a ‘one fits all solution’.

Often people will say I need something on the roof in case it leaks, that may happen once in five or ten years or perhaps even never happen,  so plan the work and a safe method of access once the situation arises, don’t invest a lump of money just on the off-chance.


ticking boxes


While a lot of custodians inherit a roof that has plant or equipment positioned on the roof from historical decisions, if new equipment is being installed, think does it need to go on the roof at all? Or if it does can it be placed in a safe area where maintenance staff’s exposure to a fall hazard is minimised?

Another reason I’m given for wanting to purchase is to provide some safety equipment to minimise the costs of a contractor needing to add that cost onto a quote to carry out some repair work safely, it’s often a false economy and if the worst ever happened and someone fell, are you ready to defend yourself that proper safe method was not used to save a few hundred pounds?

In summary, if it’s a ‘one off’ employ a trained and competent contractor who can provide a Risk assessment and Method Statement for you to review with them to safely carry out the work. Otherwise identify the task and if it’s regular buy equipment based on it being used for that specific purpose by someone who is trained in its use.

It may be a run of free-standing roof guardrail to restrict their access to a certain part of the roof or even the use of a portable anchor like the Weightanka or Wireanka, that you may decide to purchase for future works or the contractor may decide he can use this type of equipment for other works for other clients, if that is the case then I can recommend a very good website….

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 22/02/16 at 12:52 PM
BloggingComplianceFall ProtectionGeneral NewsMobile Man AnchorPermalink

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Warehouse and Factory Walkway Barriers

warehouse barriers

Simplified offers easy to install solutions to provide safe access  and for separating pedestrians from hazards such as forklift or vehicular traffic, machinery and access hatches in environments including  warehouses, loading bays, factories and production areas

We have lots of off the shelf solutions that can be provided for installation by your in house facilities management team as well as providing a full turnkey package for the larger projects. The systems are designed to allow easy installation using the very basic of hand tools.

The Kee Klamp system is so flexible that almost any access issue for manufacture or maintenance can be achieved and here at Simplified we are here to help and provide an ‘off-the shelf’ or bespoke solution for your application.

The below are a few examples of where the products can be used within a warehouse or factory environment but many more applications can be seen our website or you can contact us directly for advice on your next project.


warehouse barriers


Warehousing

We have a range of pre-assembled handrail barrier kits and pre-assembled uprights Safety Barriers are essential in areas where pedestrians and materials handling equipment or vehicles are working together. Safety barriers are used to separate the pedestrians from traffic as well or create a safe designated route around your facility.  These can be supplied powder-coated in ‘safety yellow’ to create highly visible barriers and incorporate such items as our self-closing gates to ensure the areas are closed off even when someone has passed through and toe-board  to stop unwanted items being kicked or knocked into the working area.

Mezzanine floors are often accessed via a ladder and the gap at the top of the ladder may not be protected, our self-closing gate also provides a great solution for this to ensure easy and safe access for the user and automatic protection once they pass through it.


warehouse barriers


Manufacturing

Manufacturing adds the hazards common to warehousing with the addition of hazards of access to operate, maintain or repair Machinery.

The Kee Klamp barriers in conjunction with signage can be used to designate or cordon areas off to the appropriate staff.

Our range of be-spoke and standard step-overs and platforms can provide safe fixed access over hazards and obstacles like conveyors and services or may be moveable to allow safe access for machinery repairs and maintenance.


warehouse barrier


Many facilities have machinery and plant spread over multiple levels many often accessed by fixed ladders, it was traditional to protect ladder openings using chains or slide bars, but legislation and practicality means that self-closing gates should be in place. Our self-closing gate is specifically designed to be easily retro-fitted for such applications meaning minimal ‘down-time’ or the need for specialist contractors to install.

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 04/02/16 at 12:12 PM
BloggingGeneral NewsPermalink

Friday, January 22, 2016

Custom Stepover Roof Platforms

custom stepover platform

Safe Access to a roof or building structure is just as important as providing fall protection.

Roof’s increasingly tend to have more foot traffic than they were originally designed for with plant and equipment such as HVAC Units, solar panels, CCTV equipment and satellite dishes & Aerials all requiring regular access and maintenance.

Providing safe access to a roof is essential when regular maintenance is required which the HSE defines ‘regular’ as any work that needs to be performed once or more a year.

Changes in roof level heights, unsuitable walking surfaces, trip hazards, high voltage equipment all create hazards where people need to be able to move safely or restricted to where they can go, add carrying of tools and equipment into the mix and the potential for accidents increases.


custom stepover platformcustom stepover platform


Providing Safe Access

We were contacted by our customer who after careful consideration of our platform product range, requested we design something that would provide a clearly marked path to the different areas of the roof, not penetrate the roof membrane but also prevent the possibility of a fall.

After discussing the requirements of the customer, we created these custom step over platforms.

The step over platforms featured easy to construct sections, which meant lifting the parts onto the roof simple and as the system was quickly designed specifically for the project, the step over was as low and unobtrusive as possible.


custom stepover platformcustom stepover platform

Using specially designed KeeWalk treads, you reduce the risk of pooling water meaning that the risks of slipping from ice during winter and mould/moss collecting during summer is significantly reduced.

The stepover platforms being modular in nature mean that you can easily adapt or reconfigure the systems if the requirement changes for any reason.

The Non-penetrative platforms use the tried and tested recycled PVC weights we also use with the KeeGuard free standing roof guardrail system, you ensure you spread the load of the whole system over a larger surface area, ensuring that abrasion to the roof membrane is reduced and there are no waterproofing required.


custom stepover platform


For a free site survey and discussion of your requirements, please contact us!

Related Entries

This post contributed by:

Paul Magee

Simplified Safety / Website Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

0844 335 8460

http://www.simplifiedsafety.co.uk

Posted on 22/01/16 at 08:37 AM
Fall ProtectionGeneral NewsHSEPermalink
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